Gin Lane 1750

William Hogarth's Gin Lane is arguably one of his most famous works of engraved art. Along with its companion, Beer StreetGin Lane addressed a very real problem in mid eighteenth century England -- the abuse of spirits by the working classes and the poor. In the right foreground an emaciated ballad singer has just passed away. His left hand still clutches his bottle. Even worse, a drunken woman is taking her snuff while her unattended baby falls to his death in front of the Gin Royal Tavern. Behind the wall a man and his dog fight for a bone. Further back, a man pawns his coat and saw and his wife her kitchen utensils for a few more drinks. The sour faced pawn broker is appropriately named, "S. Gripe". Both his wealthy home and clothes stand in direct contrast to the ruination around. Only pawn brokers, coffin makers and distillers profit in such a society.

 

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